A less well known aspect of Ali's oratory are his esoteric sermons, in which he refers to his own station in lofty and divine terms. Recently, STF in a waaz mentioned the sermon of Ali narrated by Asbagh bin Nubáta. In this, Ali refers to himself in many strange and mysterious ways. It starts off as: (you can Google the rest on your own)
Another esoteric sermon is the Sermon of the Two Gulfs (Tuttinjiya) which has similar themes and topics. Another interesting piece is called "Hadîth Kumayl" or "Hadîth al-Haqîqa", a very short and dense conversation Ali had with his close companion Kumayl.M. Ali wrote:I am the brother of the Messenger of God and the Heir to His knowledge, the treasury of His wisdom, and the Companion of His secret. There is not a letter revealed by God in any of His Books whose intention does not point towards me. He hath vouchsafed unto me the knowledge of what was from eternity and what will happen unto the Day of Resurrection. To me hath been vouchsafed the knowledge of past and future generations and their genealogies. And to Me hath been given a thousand keys to a thousand doors. The knowledge of the destinies of all things hath been granted unto me. All these Gifts shall continue to flow through my Appointed Successors (wasi's) as long as day is followed by night and night followed by day and until all things return to God. For verily, He is the True Inheritor of all things.
At first sight, these sermons seem very unlike something Ali would say. I should mention, of course, that not all Shia consider these hadith and sermons as authentic, and hence they are not found in the Nahaj al-Balagah. However, they have continued to form the basis of esoteric and gnostic speculations in Shia Islam through the centuries. Most notably, major sects of Shia, including both the Twelvers and Ismailis, have used these to understand the secrets of Imamat and high station of not only Ali, but all the Panjaatan, who, according to these groups, occupy a unique place in the cosmic order.
Even though they are not mentioned often in sermons, as STF's waaz shows, they are studied and contemplated by Shia, including Bohras. My goal in this post is to encourage people to read these sermons and attempt to understand their message. Of course, I know that many orthodox Sunnis, for example, would reject them and even think they are blasphemous, but I suggest at least giving it a read and spending some time studying.
Post your thoughts and comments here, and perhaps we can all learn something new, from different perspectives.